It’s no secret that digital technology is remaking the healthcare industry. From all-digital startups to traditional healthcare firms looking to meet new challenges and expand into new markets, digital technology is at the center of a revolution in healthcare. But many firms struggle with hiring software developers that are critical to their future success.

Remote IT teams are now a viable solution for startups and established firms to tap into the global pool of software engineers to meet their need to expand development teams rapidly. But how do you successfully vet, onboard, and manage remote software developers?

There are critical stages for assembling and managing remote teams and they can be broken down into three areas, vetting, onboarding, and managing. In this post, I will focus on onboarding.

Onboarding a new remote developer is arguably one of the most important things you can add to your core competencies if you want to assure your new team member’s success.

When I think of onboarding, I look at the process along three primary dimensions. The first is making sure they have the right business context. The second is making sure they have the right “people context.” And the third is making sure you have the proper checkpoints in place to verify that the new hire is ramping up at the rate you expect them to.

Business Context
When preparing a company to onboard new engineers, the company needs to provide its new team members with vital information to understand the company from a business-context perspective. This includes:

  • A short description of what the company does and what product they are building
  • The mission & core values of the company
  • What is the strategy to accomplish this mission
  • The high-level, quarterly OKRs or goals for the business
  • A copy of the org chart

Communicating this information makes certain your new additions will have the right kind of business context around what is essential to succeed at your company.

Communication synchronization is of the utmost importance when you’re working with distributed team members. You want the developer and your onsite/local team to be calibrated on the time window during which everyone is going to be available and reachable.

People Context
One of the main things you must share with the person you’re onboarding is your company’s org chart. An org chart provides people much-needed context. You can also use high-level visualizations that show all the different projects in the company. The goal is to convey how those projects connect. For instance, who’s driving those projects, and who are the people involved with the various projects. Giving a developer this conceptual understanding of the people, the projects, and their relationship is critical to establishing this people context.

During onboarding, it is imperative to identify the four people in your company that this new developer needs to speak to within their first month to get fully ramped up. And be sure to assign a buddy to your new developer. Having a buddy for the first three months is incredibly helpful.

Ask yourself who managers this new developer? And, have they been introduced? While I realize this should be obvious, this isn’t always the case when someone is remote. It’s good to be explicit by specifically letting the developer know, for example, who will be doing their weekly one-on-one meetings, who makes sure that weekly one-on-ones happen, and how they will be evaluated.

New engineers should also know when performance reviews will happen. What’s the cadence? What’s the format? And essentially, the answer to the question, what does it take to succeed in this organization? You want the person that you’re onboarding to have a good idea of what to expect.

Put in place 30, 60, and 90-day check-ins with the person you’re onboarding. You want to let the new developer know who will be conducting the check-ins and what they will evaluate during each interval. Instituting regular check-ins gives you a valuable opportunity to course-correct in case something hasn’t gone per plan.

Working with remote software engineers opens up your company to a global talent pool that will allow you to move your software projects forward much more quickly than if you try to rely exclusively on locally available developers. Onboarding these remote engineers correctly and making sure they integrate effectively with your onsite developers will ensure your remotely distributed teams deliver the results you expect.

Picture: marchmeena29, Getty Images

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